Tretallë (Empire)

Indisputably the masters of conquest and the mightiest empire the world of Eshthar has seen in all of history, the Tretalleri empire was immense for a reason. The Bone Elves were very well educated in the ways of the world and had an innate understanding that the only reason people would remain and not revolt against an empire is if they loved it and if they felt that they still had a modicum of control over their lives. This philosophy was something that they executed majestically and resulted in them cultivating the most expansive civilization in history, the influences of which reach even into the spacefaring future.

The Dominion

At the peak of Tretalleri society is the Ifatallë Cillaninnë, the Ivory Imperator. The position is one that is incredibly difficult to fill and the Ivory Throne often spends significant amounts of time empty. As a result of this, there is a second legislative and executive body to Tretalleri politics, the Council of Ravens, made up of nine of the True Blood, the capital houses of Tretalleri society.

The council can veto the Ivory Imperator only in times of war, and only with a unanimous vote shared between the council and the Court of Crows. Directly under these two groups in rank is the military, with the cavalry bearing the highest honours apart from the specialised warriors that are known as the Ivory Guard that are trained specifically for guarding the Ivory Imperator and members of the Council with their lives if need be. Equal to the military is the Blood, the highest of whom are known as the True Blood, the less-noble families known as the High Blood and commoners raised to the Blood known as the Low Blood.

In charge with law enforcement for the common man, of similar rank to the magisters of the Court, are the Ravens, who are distinguished by their coats, one side of which extends down to their left knee, while the other stops at the waist. The coat's left shoulder is adorned with three raven feathers and the Raven coat of arms.

Finally, the lowest caste of Tretalleri society is the magus. Mages are almost exclusively servants or slaves because Tretalleri culture despises magic, which is part of their rivalry with the High Elves who are more magically attuned. Tretalleri mages are collared and manacled in Elledtrillë, to dampen their arcane abilities.

Colonisation

One of the most powerful militaristic empires and naval forces of its time, the Tretalleri Dominion has colonies all over the world, save for the far North. They have explored lands unknown even to the High Elves who are the unparalleled masters of the sea, but are notably lacking in military expertise, preferring to depend on their magyks which aren't readily available in foreign lands. Despite their reputed cruelty in battle, as well as mercilessness to those who oppose them, the Tretalleri colonies are arguably the most peaceful and flourishing amongst the powers of their time.

The Tretalleri protocol for seeking new lands to add to the Dominion's ownership is to first send the forerunners — the Urallë — followed by the Erëiltallë — the Fleet of Bones. Dealings often begin with open trade between the Dominion and the new lands and if these new lands recognize the authority of the Ivory Throne, they are integrated into the Dominion with little fuss. However, it rarely happens, and conquest is the primary goal of the Dominion. The Fleet of Bones is the means to this end. In a series of swift and decisive military strikes, the Dominion establishes its military supremacy and any of those willing to secede after the display of power will be integrated while those who remain unwilling are scoured from the face of the earth.

Once annexed, territorial governments are required to take the Tallarë — The Oath of Bones and Blood — in front of the Ivory Throne. The Oath demands total obeisance to the Ivory Throne, as well as a promise to keep the peace, to never take up arms against the Blood and the Dominion, and to eagerly prepare for and await the Coming.

The Urallë

Forerunners of any Tretalleri goal of conquest, the Urallë are among the best spies and informants of the Dominion. Blest with the gift of being able to read men and women alike, these people are the ones that manage to bribe and charm others into weakening the hold of the local government. They are not often successful, given that the Tretallë do not in themselves have a propensity for diplomacy, but rather intimidation, but that hardly matters for within two or three weeks of the Urallë's arrival come the Ereiltallë and this spells doom for anyone who would dare to even put up resistance.

The Urallë is usually composed of six ships, two of the largest ships built in Tretalleri shipyards, the Kergullë, literally Dragon's Descent. And four of the smaller-sized galleons. Each Urallë flotilla is spearheaded by an Admiral, usually of the High Blood. However, if there is a territory that the Ivory Imperator has decreed must become part of the Dominion by any means necessary, the Admiral is typically of the True Blood, if not from the family that the Ivory Imperator was raised from. Each flotilla is crewed by about 500-strong men and fully capable of defending themselves if need be. In fact there have been a few recorded instances where the Urallë were able to overwhelm and sack a city prior to the Ereiltallë arriving. This never went well and all parties involved in making the executive decision were swiftly executed because the divine right of the Urallë is only ever to prepare the way for the armada, where the divine right of conquest is firmly seated.

Prior to the Urallë landing, they send out a number of smaller boats to go up and down the coast of the newly-found land. They typically find the largest significant settlement along the coast and test local flora and fauna for toxicity. These boats have implements for very rough cartography and once all of them have returned, the maps are collated and the Urallë admiral decides where to land. Typically, the Urallë land not very far from the largest significant settlement in the area. The whole process takes about a month or so, and the provisions in the small flotilla of the Urallë typically have a dent in them by the time they decide to land.

Upon landing, the Urallë initiate three strategical actions that will make the Ereiltallë's job easier. First and foremost is that they find the easiest of the guards to bribe and the easiest ones to assassinate. From the reign of the third Ivory Imperator onward, the Urallë have had a group of Sylphs, a matriarchal race where its individuals are of an unearthly beauty that are well known for their ability to seduce and assassinate on each flotilla of the Urallë. These individuals, however, are dropped off by the boats and begin their covert operations by learning the way of the land and passing themselves off as noblemen and noblewomen. Once the Urallë have targets in mind, people begin to go missing.

Part of the cargo of the largest of the Urallë's ships (dedicated almost entirely to cargo) is a significant amount of Mistwood from the Mountains of Mist. This wood is known for its unique quality of letting off a mist-like smoke when burnt as opposed to black, sooty smoke. Also in the cargo hold is a Kertallë and his dragon who play an instrumental part in making sure the invasion goes well. The second part of their tactics involves building pyres near the city but not too close under the cover that they need to send off their dead.

Finally, Urallë informants masquerading as merchants are dispersed into the settlement to buy what they could and to bribe merchants into giving them as much as they want. The Urallë is laden with exotic, immensely attractive, but otherwise useless treasures which they are free to spend at their discretion. This "shopping binge" serves two purposes. The first is to bolster the Urallë's supplies which have taken a significant blow. The second is to significantly reduce the city's supplies in order to lessen the chance for a protracted siege.

The Ereiltallë

The most impressive manifestation of military might of its age, the Ereiltallë were quick to be feared by any who heard whispers of them. However, none would know what the coming of the Tretallë looked like for they heard only whispers. The Tretallë made sure that none escaped their vicious, ruthless attacks so that not a pip of information would spread through the land. Neglecting or refusing to kill anyone who had not submitted to the Dominion is grounds for execution in Tretalleri courts of law.

Towards the end of the Feudal Era there were three Fleets of Bones and the one that laid waste to the land of Ildrenn was the smallest of the three. Consisting of a force of 100 000 strong men with about 120 large ships and more than double the number of small ships, the battle for the West was quick, brutal, and decisive. Preceded by over 10 different Urallë flotillas, the greatest conquest of the Tretalleri people took little over four months to bring the Sea Folk, Humans and Dwarves to their knees. In a victory after a protracted campaign against the orcs, the Tretallë were finally able to subjugate the entirety of the Western world after five years.

While the cavalry of the Tretalleri Dominion is almost exclusively Tretalleri, the rest of its forces, and admittedly a large portion of the Fleets were made up of loyal soldiers from other Dominion lands. The only exceptions being the admirals and the siege engineers, of course. The Ereiltallë is never less than 100 000 strong, and the largest fleet, at the peak of its existence had well over 400 000 men, 400 large ships and almost triple the number of small ships and skippers for harrying coastal villages.

The Ereiltallë almost never employ their full force in one campaign, except when the lands in question are expansive and a lot of resistance is met. In fact, only seven times in the history of the Dominion has an entire Armada been called into action. Two of these times were against the same nation who managed to somehow subvert the watchers and regain independence. The Dominion proclaimed this nation, and all its sovereign lands enemies of the Throne. Within twenty years, the land was sown with salt and rendered farrow, and it was not until the beginning of the Dominion Era that the Dominion began to repopulate it.

The Ereiltallë, no matter what fraction of it is called to arms, is almost never preceded by only one flotilla of the Urtallë. As a result, the Armada is capable of launching multiple attacks all along the coast. Yes, it becomes spread thin, but the resources of the land allow the Armada to remain cohesive. The typical method of attack for the Ereiltallë is to begin at the fringes of a territory and expand inward, cornering the most significant cities of the region and cutting them off from supply lines in order to make sieges much easier.

On the day of the Armada's arrival, the Urallë light the pyres before the first light of dawn and release the dragons to fan the misty smoke over the city. Being coastal towns and cities, mist is typically not alien to the people, but when the sun rises to blow away the mist, the Armada is far too close for the settlement to do anything. The settlements are usually subjugated before the sun dips below the horizon. After this, select spies are allowed to run away and to bring altered news to the capital/s. It isn't very long before armies are assembled and are foolish enough to meet with the Tretallë in open combat. Their superior cavalry run down the ill-prepared armies and once they break ranks, the Dominion will have a new territory in a few weeks' time.

The Talvissë

A small contingent of the Ereiltallë that remains after every potential conquest, the Talvissë are among the most learned in Tretallë culture. Curiously, they are not required to be Tretallë, save for the priests that accompany them, for priesthood is a divine right of the Bone Elves alone. Non-Tretallë leaders of the faith are called Heralds, instead.

One of the very first duties of the Talvissë is to establish a place of learning in major cities. Their contingent comprises builders and architects as well, so that the people of the colonies will see structures that are of genuine Tretalleri architecture. Children are required to receive at least three hours of education about life in the Dominion, its history, and how to be a good citizen of the Dominion each day until the first temple is finished, upon which they are required to receive three hours of education there once every week. Adults are expected to do the same, but theirs is an obligation done every evening as opposed to morning and afternoon like the children.

With the Watchers are some artists of the Dominion, there to teach the new peoples of their ways and art forms known to the Dominion as well as to learn art forms that may be unique to the territory. Teams are dispatched to the noble houses or any influential families to teach them the ways of the Low Blood, of which they may be a part of. Occasionally, there are members of the Blood involved in order to make the teaching of customs go much faster since they are partial to these customs.

The Talvissë also have a special subgroup of assassins in case they need to do any sort of damage control when a local noble is heard to be planning to speak or take arms against the Dominion. Because the Dominion doesn't aspire to rule through fear, the first step the Watchers take is to get someone in the confidence of said noble to confirm the reports, and to try and dissuade them. If this does not work, the assassins are dispatched and they frame any remaining rebel groups for the death. Meanwhile, a steady stream of bounty from the Dominion's richer lands continues to arrive in the newly captured territory and helps to maintain the peace.

In the case of a dissident making it to the public eye before the assassins can properly take care of him, their arguments are listened to and paid attention to. Public debates are held between masters of rhetoric from amongst the Watchers and the dissident, until such time that the time is right for the dissident to be framed for the murder of a Dominion sympathiser. Upon which they are given a seemingly fair trial and summarily executed.

The Coming

Following the subjugation of insurgent forces, the Watchers remain when the Fleet and the Forerunners leave. Apart from being educators, the Talvissë are also a highly trained order of assassins and executioners. Their charge is to teach the people of the land how to properly supplicate the Throne, how to be a good citizen of the Dominion, and to restore peace to the subdued lands.

Once the new territory is sufficiently stabilised, the Larvissi, a process of determining the most worthy by their prowess during the military campaign to conquer the territory begins. Once the Larvissen has been chosen by the Court of Crows, he/she supplicates the Ivory Throne or the Council of Ravens, depending on whether the Throne is filled at the time. He/she is raised to the Lower Blood and given dominion over their choice of land in the new territory. After this, the governance of the entirety of the new territory is given to the heir-apparent of the currently-weakest house of the True Blood.

Once all the political pomp is taken care of, a fleet of ships is sent to the territory, bearing either the new nobilities of the land, or, if they elected to stay within the heart of the Dominion, the people they delegated to rule in their stead, along with priests, educators, architects and colonisers. It is at this point that the true integration of the territory begins.

Military

The military discipline of the Tretallë is unmatched in the world. However, it is very heavily cavalry-based. Foot militia corps are usually comprised of lowborn Tretalleri and colony conscripts. The Tretalleri favour the spear and shield, but can also use the lance and the pike if the situation calls for it. To meet the Tretalleri in open combat is utter foolishness as they will just run down soldiers with little regard. Their warhorses are, like their masters, trained to ignore non-fatal pain and keep fighting. It is one of the mindgames that the Tretalleri play with their enemies, because what nation would not falter against a host that showed no sign of pain or stopping even when riddled with arrows?

Generally speaking, serving in the Tretalleri military is not considered an honour and is more often than not a plebeian's job. However, joining the elite cavalry forces of the military, being a naval captain, or living through the training to become an Kertallë is widely regarded as achievement worthy of praise and song.

Ranking

The Tretalleri armies are led by the Lord Captain Commander, a member, generally, of the True Blood. He is distinguished from the rest of the elite cavalry by the bone-tipped Elledtrillë spear that he carries. It has an ivory shaft and is more often than not a symbol of rank than an actual weapon as its fragile handle would easily snap. His helmet is also adorned with seven raven feathers and the regnal symbol of the most recent Ivory Imperator, if there isn't currently one.

Tasked with leading the individual contingents of the Tretalleri host are the Lieutenant-Generals, under whom are the Commanders, Sergeants, and Flag-Lieutenants. Commanders take charge of Legions, a group of 5 or so Charges. Charges, made up of 5-10 Flags are under the command of Sergeants. Flag-Lieutenants are in charge of the smallest unit of the Tretalleri military, the Flags, which can comprise 20-50 men. While the Lord Captain Commander's orders are paramount, any ranking official of the military may, during the heat of battle, decide to take a drastically different plan of action, as long as it doesn't prove to be destructive to the original plan upon pain of a year of torture without respite for every man in their charge that lost their life.

Within the ranks of the army are the Irrë and the Orrë, the eyes and ears of the Lord Captain Commander, and his Lieutenant-Generals. They are a network of informants about any unrest or disciplinary affronts that occur within the ranks. They are trained meticulously for the work they do, and they do it so well that any offence is very promptly handled.

Mordetallë

Pride and joy of the Tretalleri army, the deathriders make up the vast bulk of their forces. Tretalleri cavalry are the elite corps of the army and they are trained parallel to their warhorses. Not just anyone can become a part of the cavalry for it takes years and only the most dedicated soldiers are even offered a chance to partake in the training. It is oftentimes lethal, but a cavalier does everything — living and dying — with his horse.

Kertallë

The pinnacle of deathrider accomplishment, some fortunate souls are given dragons to replace their horses, much to the psychological detriment of the deathrider. Due to the bond that the deathriders have with their horses, replacing them makes severing the emotional ties that they have essential. A deathrider that is chosen to ascend to being a Dragon Rider is charged with the execution of his horse. It is for this very reason that so few deathriders ever ascend.

Any who do choose to do so, must journey to the Mountains of Mist and recover for themselves a dragon from the depths of the mountains.

Elledtrillë

Steel from the Stars, Elledtrillë, is the most precious of Tretalleri military equipment. It is an enchanted metal that can cut as easily through bone as though a hot knife through butter. It is mined from the depths of the Mountains of Mist where there are such threats as dragons, poisonous mist and explosive gases. Deep within the mountains are the fragments of stars, or so Tretallë lore states, and it is from these fragments that they extract the iron that they use for Elledtrillë.

The creation of this metal involves it being sung into shape, oftentimes as blocks that are then quenched in the blood of the mages that created it. After this, the metal can be forged normally. High Ranking officials of the army use the metal, and all archers have Elledtrillë-tipped arrows. Due to the iron content of the metal, it is magic-dampening. In fact, in armed conflicts against their High Elven contemporaries, the Tretallë almost exclusively use Elledtrillë.

Hunter Corps

Perhaps one of the most vital parts of Tretalleri tactics, the hunters are invaluable to ensuring that their conquest goes as smoothly as possible. The Hunter Corps are the best of the best when it comes to tracking and their duty is to ensure that none who are not designated by the Ereiltallë to deliberately deliver misinformation to surrounding areas will escape the fields of battle. They, with their Great Hounds are released during the chaos of a battle to find, capture and if needed, terminate any escapees.

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